Genean Thomas Receives Acts of Kindness Award From Rollins College
Dede Hering, supervisor of the switchboard and information desk at Rollins College, received this month’s Acts of Kindness Award. Nominators noted her friendly greeting of callers with an “‘I can help you!” attitude as she provides staff assistance in events planning as well as phone numbers of faculty and staff members. Dede has worked at Rollins for 10 years!
Thomas was an accomplished figure skater who competed in numerous prestigious competitions and broke barriers of race, gender, and age. She credits her success to her mother’s daily commute of over 100 miles between home, school, and the ice rink.
In 1986, she won her first US Championship title and became the first black skater ever to do so. Additionally, she went on to earn a bronze medal at World Championships.
Thomas retired from competitive skating to pursue her medical degree, receiving both her bachelor’s and medical degrees at Stanford University before going on to Charles R. Drew University for orthopedic surgery residency and then Dorr Arthritis Institute at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood for further fellowship training.
Thomas retired from competitive skating after winning a bronze medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics to pursue her education and become a physician. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Stanford University before going on to Northwestern University Medical School where she graduated. Thomas was an orthopedic surgeon by specialty and completed her residency and fellowship training at Charles R. Drew University and Centinela Hospital’s Dorr Arthritis Institute in Inglewood respectively. However, Thomas also struggled with mental illness and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was forced to close her medical practice, sell her Olympic medal and declare bankruptcy in 2012. By 2015, she sought help from motivational coach Iyanla Vanzant and by November it was reported that she was living in an infested trailer together with her fiance and his two sons.
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